Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Mailbag #7

Dear Tribal Hack:

Occasional poems seem to have fallen off a cliff in contemporary CanPo ever since the project book -- whether unified narrative thread or linked sequence -- became popular. Could you display one of your favourite occasional pieces?

-- Ivan Illitch

Dear Ivan:

You're right. And the reason occasional poems -- composition and estimation -- have been neglected has to do with the faulty conception that they're only occasionally warranted, or (worse) that they're slight (in effort and importance). This is snobbish (not to be confused with "elitism", which is an identifying badge of honour), and I herewith present an example, one of many such forays into the public art, by Rat Boone:


In troubled times, Frank, when we're on our own,
when rats knock on the front door instead
of making furtive darts under the bed
to down dropped downers, dessicated dog bones,

it's good to know you're barbering the lawn
with a shiny red Deere, sitting like a Pope
on the plastic seat, singing in hope
that you'll knock over a startled rural fawn

then baptize its carcass with a wet wrench,
the soldered tool an envoy wand to announce
the end of Bambi idealism, that flounce-
fixture celluloid cartoon whose stench

of false innocence we smeared on on Sundays
on the go and whose image we discarded
when outdoor service reigned. We lorded
it over the dead and deathly. Frank, let us pray.

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